Twitter usernames are starting to become the business cards I collect after meeting someone that I’m interested in.

It’s impersonal enough to make it a better option than Facebook, and personal enough that your company website doesn’t get in the way of me getting to know you. Unless of course, you are your business. Then, I’m interested by default. 😉

In my opinion, business cards are stuffy, and I never know what to do with them after getting the info I need to connect with you online.

Business cards end up becoming nothing more than mementos of an event, or showcases for company logos. Beyond looking up your website online, giving you a call, saving your information in an address book, either digitally (or if you want to be fancy old school, in a rolodex), if I’m intrigued by you, I’ll usually put you in one of my private twitter lists. That is how I save you, electronically.

At a recent user experience book club meeting, I asked people I was interested in for their twitter usernames, or just searched for their name on the fly in Tweetbot on my iPhone. No business card required. Most twitter bios include either a company or personal website URL, and all you do is tap to go. You can also quickly scan categorize them from the lists people have them in. Much easier, no paper to save or lose, and completely interactive. Want to get together to talk shop? You don’t need to remember their work or mobile number when you can just send a direct message or @ them.

Sure you’re not handing over that little card to save forever (or never) but that’s okay. Perhaps there’s still a point for those that want to impress formally or collect for sales efforts and follow up calls. But twitter to me is that wonderfully instant way to scan a potential contact and make them a part of your social network.

So, let’s say…. you’re not on twitter. Oh well, too bad, anyone who’s anyone that *I* want to know, is. There’s no reason not to be. Businesses use Facebook pages and that’s fine, but just having only a website, personal or business, is outdated, in my opinion. Twitter is the “who are you and why should I care” and the “who are you connected to and taking to often” that, to me, determines how active and influential you are. And I think it’s necessary. To not use this space, even just occasionally, a person or business is missing out on so many possibilities and opportunities to connect. And in this respect, it also says a lot about that person or business. It’s funny to hear excuses from people that aren’t on twitter in a room full of twitter users. It always sparks debate. 😉 And hey, I was a late Facebook adopter. We’re talking 2012, here. I *know* what that’s like.

Oh and one more thought: Sure, maybe twitter isn’t for everyone. Due to personal style, or what have you. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a tool to stay connected. You should be willing to use the most common networking tools that the majority use, whether you like it or not. I hate LinkedIn for instance, and I’m still not using it in the way it should be used, but I’m on there, and connecting to people.

Just think about how technically savvy people would go about looking up someone or something. You have to know your audience and what their habits are. You can’t just choose to not participate in this form of communication if you want to be successful. And honest. I’ve found that, using twitter, I can determine interests, geekiness, intelligence and humor just from what you talk about. Are you just posting links and regurgitating content? Boring. We’re past that phase. Use reddit for that. Twitter has to be personal, mainly unique content of your own making, with things you personally find interesting or are working on. I don’t want to see a billion retweets and social media tactics that waste my time, or simply try to promote your business. In the end, for me, it always comes down to, “Why should I care?”

I’m not affiliated with twitter in any way, but I do want you to use it because it makes sense and it’s the easiest method for me to keep in touch with you. And if you’re interested in me, well, you could pretty much find out anything you want just from my twitter username. 😉


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